On Thursday, Artemis Gold announced a partnership with Wheaton Precious Metals Corp. to invest an additional $40 million US ($54 million Canadian) into the Blackwater Mine.
The open-pit gold mine, located 160 kilometres southwest of Prince George, is expected to begin production in the second half of 2024. The mine’s working life is projected to be 22 years. The total cost of the project, to get to production, is estimated at $730-750 million.
“Artemis Gold Inc. …announces that as a result of internal engineering analysis, it has committed to additional investments as part of its Phase 1 development of the Blackwater Mine… in order to facilitate the potential fast-tracking of the Phase 2 expansion,” a statement issued by Artemis on Thursday said. “These investments in the Phase 1 initial capital are expected to allow the Company to further optimize throughput in the early years of operation.”
Wheaton Precious Metals Corp. is providing the additional funding in exchange for approximately 92,000 ounces of gold, to be delivered starting in approximately 2034.
The funding will be used to increase the conveyor belt widths in the crushing circuit, electrical upgrades, upsizing the oxygen plant and other investments aimed at facilitating construction of Phase 2 of the mine.
“We have been exploring these options internally for some time,” Artemis Gold CEO and chairperson Steven Dean said. “This announcement is the logical next step and importantly provides the additional funding to further pursue these optimizations at a low cost of capital with a great partner in Wheaton, without a material dilution of the net asset value per share for shareholders.”
With the agreement, the optimized initial capital for Phase 1 construction of Blackwater Mine is fully funded, the company statement said. Construction was approximately 20 per cent complete as of May 31.